Last month, Microsoft cautioned that sales and profits in the second half of the year would fall short in comparison with the same period in fiscal 2008. In a meeting with analysts Tuesday, Chief Financial Officer Chris Liddell said the company expects "conditions to remain difficult" through the end of the fiscal and calendar year.
Chief Executive Steve Ballmer said Microsoft even looked at the worst financial meltdowns in U.S. history - 1820, 1873, 1929 and the present period - and noted that none of those panics resulted in quick recoveries.
"I think the economy will be relatively weak for a relatively long time," he said.
In light of poor economic conditions, Ballmer said Microsoft would carefully manage its cash and he was noncommittal on potential dividend increases or stock buybacks. Executives also indicated they would be less likely to make acquisitions, although they did not rule out any deals.